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THE EARLIEST STATE
DEATH OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT.
BY DR. GOLDSMITH.
TWO VOLS. IN ONE
STEREOTYPED BY HAMMOND WALLIS & co.
PUBLISHED BY SILAS ANDRUS
1. The first notices we have of every country are fabulous and uncertain. Among an unenlightened people every imposture is likely to take place, for ignorance is the parent of credu. lity. Nothing, therefore, which the Greeks have transmitted to us concerning their earliest state can be relied on.
2. Poets were the first who began to record the actions of their countrymen, and it is a part of their art to strike the imagination even at the expense of probability. For this reason, in the earliest accounts of Greece, we are presented with the machinations of gods and demi-gods, the adventures of heroes and giants, the ravages of monsters and dragons, and all the potency of charms and enchantments. Man, plain historical man, seems to have no share in the picture, and while the reader wanders through the most delightful scenes the imagination cans. offer, he is scarce once presented with the actions of such a be." ing as himself.
3. It would be vain, therefore, and beside the present purpose, to give a historical air to accounts which were never meant to be transmitted as true. Some writers, indeed, have laboriously undertaken to separate the truth from the fable, and to give us an unbroken narrative from the first dawning of tradition to the display of undoubted history; they have levelled down all mythology to their own apprehensions : every fable is made to look with an air of probability. Instead of a golden fleece, Jason goes in pursuit of a great treasure; instead of destroying a chimera, Bellerophon reclaims a mountain; instead of a hydra, Hercules overcomes a robber.